Saturday, May 2, 2015

Last Call: I, Robots

You knew this was coming. Having collected a few new titles for Free Comic Book Day today (If you're not reading Ms. Marvel, The Wicked + The Divine, or Saga, shame on you) it's now time for my review of Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

The bottom line: I'd put it a safe third in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films (behind Guardians of the Galaxy and the first Avengers, but definitely ahead of Captain America: Winter Soldier and Iron Man 3).  There's a lot in this film, you'll want to be paying attention, and you'll definitely want to see this movie with a nice big crowd cheering on your protagonists.

Joss Whedon isn't at the top of his game here, but he is pretty close, and it's a good time.

Don't worry, the spoilery parts are all safely below the jump.

We start with the Avengers doing what they do best: working together to tie up some loose ends from Captain America's (Chris Evans) last outing with HYDRA. Everyone's back, of course: Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Dr. Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and his big green alter-ego, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and they bring the fight beautifully in the opening sequences.

What they discover is a certain Asgardian artifact that played a large role in the first Avengers film, and how it was used to create some impressive technology, including human experimentation on twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olson). With the artifact safely in hand, the team kicks back and enjoys some time off while Stark and Banner go into Full Science Bros Mode in order to try to create the ultimate peacekeeping force against the kind of cosmic-level bad guys that have come knocking on Earth's door lately, a project they dub "Ultron" (the outstanding James Spader, who is as perfect a casting choice as Downey is for Stark).

Only with the technology they now have, Project Ultron turns out to be too successful.  And boy, does he have daddy issues.  What follows is a whirlwind, globe-hopping adventure that will test the Avengers friendships, teamwork, and strength to the maximum, and it's a great time.

Again, I highly recommend the film, as Marvel has done it again.

Now, about those spoiler below the jump...and you have been warned...

Kentucky's Master Debaters

With three weeks to go until the GOP primary for governor here in Kentucky, this week's debate was a race to see which Republican candidate would make things the worst for the Bluegrass state.

The event at WKU featured Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, and former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner.

If elected, all three pledged to dismantle the state’s health insurance exchange known as Kynect.

Comer said the state took on a lot of responsibility that it can’t afford. 
"Eighty-two percent of the people who got on Kynect ended up on Medicaid," Comer explained. "What Kynect became for Governor Beshear was a way to greatly expand Medicaid to the point to where we have 25 percent of the state on Medicaid, one out of four people. That's not sustainable." 
As governor, Comer said he would get more Kentuckians into private health coverage while changing eligibility requirements for Medicaid.

Matt Bevin said he would transition those who signed up on Kentucky’s exchange to the federal exchange. 
"Frankly, it's a level of redundancy we can't afford. It's as simple as that," Bevin suggested. "We were lured into participation through the use of federal dollars." 
Starting in 2017, the state must begin bearing a share of the cost of expanding Medicaid. Currently, the federal government is picking up the entire tab. 
Hal Heiner suggested tying the Medicaid expansion to workforce training so people could get a job, get off of Medicaid, and obtain private insurance. He criticized the Medicaid expansion for lacking any level of personal responsibility. 
"It doesn't have what you're seeing conservative governors in other states adopt in their plans which build in incentives to use preventive care, to use primary care providers rather than emergency care, and to make healthy lifestyle choices to reduce the overall cost," Heiner stated.

And again, all three candidates vowed to destroy arguably the most effective state exchange in the country. Comer wants to effectively privatize the state's Medicaid expansion, Bevin wants to rip up Kynect and put us on a federal exchange (which depending on the Supreme Court would literally be a plan to make health care unaffordable again for half a million people), and Heiner wants to make Medicaid expansion impossible to qualify for.

All three want to take health insurance coverage away from half a million Kentuckians.

I'm not sure who will win, but man, if Jack Conway can't beat these clowns in November, we are royally screwed.

The Mask Slips Again

And conservatives accidentally tell the truth about what they really believe.  Today's contestant: Bill-O!

On Thursday’s edition of “The O’Reilly Factor,” Bill O’Reilly opined that Baltimore rioters are out on the street because they are disrespectful, uneducated gangs of entitled victims. Not because Freddie Gray is dead and there is an oppressive system of justice that criminalizes blackness.

“The litany of excuse-making is excruciating,” O’Reilly said before mocking the excuses.”The rioters are angry because America is a country of mass incarceration. People who burn down buildings and loot are just misdirected folks who feel hopeless, and if you feel hopeless, it’s ok to riot. You see it’s really not the fault of those who commit crimes, it’s the fault of America because we don’t provide jobs for everyone.”

“Instead of pinpointing the real problem and then trying to solve it, you get crazy theories in an attempt to provide justification for Americans hurting other Americans,” he continued. “Here’s the truth: how can anyone provide a job that pays a decent salary to somebody who can barely read or write? To somebody who can’t speak English? To somebody that has tattoos all over their body? Who’s defiant, disrespectful, and who doesn’t even want to work because they have a sense of entitlement that says they’re victims and you owe me.”

We are nothing more than animals to people like Bill-O. Animals who should vote Republican in order to be put down at a faster clip, right?
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